Welcome beautiful people. Welcome to Winter Park and the Fraser Valley, America’s (almost) secret playground. We’ve got the pot and the potholes, the music and the mountains, the brews, beavers and bike trails. The fishin’ and musicians. Welcome one and all.

Unless you flew in on a chopper you may have noticed that our local and regional roads and highways are exploding with asphalt ance. The blacktop and concrete is pocked with tire gobblers, axle muchers, brake bashers and wheel whackers.

Dirt roads? Washboards and moist, muddy holes.

US-40? Either go r e a l l y slow or really fast, so you can skip over the top of the cavities.

I-70? Gotta drive like a drunk, swerving all over the place like a freestyle skier just to miss the really big hot springs, cavernous canyons and crusty caves.

When you blow your suspension don’t go looking for a quick fix. All the guys at the tire places are too busy or too grumpy to get you back on the road in a hurry. I’m driving around on a flat as we speak, waiting for my opening. Hopefully the cops won’t notice.

And be careful in Fraser. There’s median construction going on that is tough to navigate in bright sunlight with flaggers and cones. At night the Fraser Gauntlet is like a vintage video game complete with flashing reflectors and local police hidden in the nooks to grade your performance.

The workers on the Fraser project are laying down the concrete and doing a great job. In fact, the medians in Fraser are a lot nicer than the minefield-riddled roads flanking them. Hopefully they’ll repave the highway after they finish the medians.

It will be interesting to see how those creamy concrete medians hold up under the strain of a Fraser Valley winter. Just look at the roads, they’re thrashed! Hopefully a 70,000 pound, fully loaded CDOT plow doesn’t peel up the medians because they are hidden of six inches of icy slush.

The roads are messed up because we had a pretty wild winter. Snow, rain, cold, warm. Winter just ended a few days ago and I think it’s scheduled to start again in a couple of weeks. We are in one of America’s iceboxes and some of us think that’s good.

This weekend we have a lot going on starting with the Blues from the Top concerts at the Rendezvoux Events Center in Winter Park. As of this writing the weather man is being pretty generous, especially considering that crews were just plowing eight foot snow drifts last week in Rocky Mountain National Park. This weekend we should see sunshine and puffy clouds with a 30 percent chance of atmospheric excitement.

You hear some people complain about the endless winter but not me. Every time the sun really comes out I’m reminded that I wilt in the sun. I like it cool more than I like it hot.

Don’t let our afternoon thunderstorms that stop you. Dress in layers. Start in a bikini but pack your layers all the way up to your Mt. Everest climbing gear. We mountain people can handle it and come prepared for weather. Remember, afternoon showers can lead to afternoon rainbows, even afternoon double rainbows.

You are going to have a great time. This place is like a wide open fun dispensairy. 100 percent recreational. Top shelf. Unfiltered.

I’ll see you out there.

Steve Skinner reminds you to drive fast and take chances. Reach him at nigel@sopris.net.